At the end of the bazaar, there was a big raffle, with many gifts from various people to be raffled off for another good cause: Cuore21 from Rimini, helping children with special needs. And with that special gesture, it was over. It was sad to say goodbye to all the amazing friends there, but we promised we’d meet again soon in another convention. Little did we know that a few weeks later, Mario would announce, via email and social media, that the dream was over and there would be no more IDC. Here is his text:
Dear Conventioneers and Collectors Friends,
the Italian Doll Convention was born from a truly personal dream of mine: to bring an event to Italy that could give all collectors, first Italian, then European, the taste and grandeur of those American conventions which I have been happily attending since 2002.
About 10 years ago, when the Italian realities dedicated to collecting were essentially sales and exchange markets, I had an idea: I thought I would reunite collectors for an evening of fun and glamor under the “banner” of Barbie and Fashiondolls.
Also ten years ago, Gianni and I began to work and collaborate with Mattel Italia, at a time when everyone was preparing to celebrate Barbie’s 50th Anniversary. Thanks to the people who worked at Mattel Italia, who were dynamic and enthusiastic, to their personal friendship and trust in us and to such a positive moment for the brand, we found the momentum to lay the concrete foundations of our ambitious project. At that point, I strongly wanted to involve a group of friends, because I had always thought that the IDC would be an event to be held among friends and built up by friends.
To my delight, many people have joined me, embracing my project, when the national environment was neither used to such events, nor to their participation cost. It was a big leap into the dark, but without giving importance to gains, fatigue and stress, we started this adventure. And in such a dream, 100 conventioneers immediately believed; then, over the years, we have been working very hard to increase this number, first to 150 then to 200, up to this 8th edition of over 300 members.
Creating such an event involves a lot of personal energy, so many sleepless nights to plan and imagine; hours that you strip away from your job and private life; your home becomes a warehouse and your life is overwhelmed by all this for at least 2 months a year. You work 362 days to have fun for only a very few hours, because you know you'll never sleep, you'll run like crazy, you'll be exhausted by the moving of thousands of boxes; but the people's happiness and gratitude is going to repay your investments in time, money and efforts, and comfort you from the bitterness that comes from detractors and the unavoidable disappointments along the way.
Within all this, new things are to be planned for the following year, hoping to add the right piece, to get the favor of fashiondolls manufacturers who see their brand promoted by an event that is often reviewed – and oh so enthusiastically - in national newspapers and on TV or the radio.
At the IDC we have given many new artists the opportunity to exhibit their creations, with a salesroom event among the largest and most varied in the world (and those traveling through conventions can understand how true this is). Many of the most amazing fashiondolls artists have taken part in the IDC: Superfrock with their Sybarites, the adorable Popovy Sisters, FashiondollAgency, Pidgin Dolls, Robert Best and Linda Kyaw for Barbie and David Buttry with his Poppy Parker. Thanks to the growing number of international friends, we have been the launch pad for Italian artists like Free Fantasy Dolls, Janka Creator, Lantis Kelly, Black Swan Company, Clara Fornari with Puparium and many others who were given the chance to meet some of the greatest collectors attending the event.
At the IDC we have imported the Fashion Show, where we really enjoyed to forget everyday’s life and seriousness by turning into some of our most beloved dolls, without expectations but with so much passion. I want to thank all those who have spent tons of energy for this “event in the event”, which has become the most goliardic and glamorous part of the convention.
At the IDC we had the opportunity to talk about the culture of fashiondolls, hosting some DCCI's and IDculture’s in-depth meetings and organizing workshops and seminars, because collecting should not only mean to accumulate, but also to increase knowledge and share information with others.
At the IDC we have seen the birth of friendships, love-stories and, above all, many people having fun at approaching this world and collecting with joy, then becoming overwhelmed by passion, and so creating new collectors.
The thing I'm most proud of is that, thanks to all the donors and buyers of the Ebay raffles and auctions, we have so far collected about 130,000 Euros for important associations and truly commendable projects that have helped sick or distressed children. There are no suitable words to underline this being one of the most important aspects of IDC, the one that most emotionally involved me, because helping others, especially those who are really in need, makes any effort bearable and fills the heart with true joy. Therefore, thanks to Cesvi Italia, Dynamo Camp, Sos Bambini, Casa Oz, Mariam Association, Fondazione Blu, LifeGate, Karibu for believing in us and in the good and transparency of all our fundraising, always realized through their Ebay accounts and their representatives. We did it with our heart, in a clean way, without ever collecting a single penny for us and always with great results, thanks to the help of many international artists (Ninimomo, Numina dolls, Nigel Chia, Cotho Creations, Matt Sutton, etc ...) and to the donations of many private collectors.
Thanks to all sponsors, which supported the events with gadgets and gifts, and a special Thank you to Marl Davidson.
Thanks to Mattel USA and Italy, which have given amazing exclusive and special convention dolls over the years, as many as 3 exclusive Barbie Silkstone, and gave us the opportunity to create extra special and official dolls such as Barbie Via Montenapoleone, Barbie Sweet Delizia, Barbie Friday Pillow Party and Barbie Glam Comic Super Star.
Thanks to Integrity Toys for believing in us and allowing us to organize the first exclusive event dedicated to Poppy Parker in Europe, an unique and unforgettable privilege.
With this long and necessary list of thanks you may have realized that - after much, often painful, thinking and considering - we have decided not to continue with the organization of the Italian Doll Convention for the next year.
The increasing costs of the event, from the hotel to the services involved, the expected taxation, in addition to a lack of future planning, by the manufacturers of fashiondolls, of exclusive dolls for our event, often in favor of a fairer support to smaller events, make it really very difficult, if not impossible, to guarantee the same quality we have become accustomed to and to which we have accustomed our conventioneers friends. Those who know me well, also know that I do not like second choices, compromising, and not keeping up to mine and others’ expectations. With the close collaboration of Gianni and Marinella I have always tried to create the most beautiful and varied event for fashiondolls in the world. Although the final judgement is always left to the conventioneers, it is up to us to choose the right moment to stop a wonderful, exciting and engaging experience like the one we have experienced during these years, with the certainty to have succeeded in the original intent to prove that all this was possible and that collectors are available to join, have fun, get involved from head to toe in a big event like the Italian Doll Convention.
I cannot say enough thank you to all my helpers; I won’t be naming each of you individually so as not to forget anyone, but you have always been amazing with your support and help to such a huge event, which may look easy to the conventioneers, but is really complex for those who organize it.
A huge thank you to Marinella Brighi, for her trust and loyalty in all circumstances, for seeing beyond what she knew of me and for giving me the opportunity to make myself known better.
Thanks to Barbara and Gabriele for always being there, before and behind the scenes, with their friendship and their commitment.
Thanks to my two “shoulders”, Sebastiano and Massimo, who have been my shadow and my support, the fun while I was working and the shoulder to cry on.
Thanks to Luisa Bianchi, who totally supported us personally and for free in the communication and advertising of the event.
Thanks to those who did not understand me, who even fought me and betrayed me, because they gave me the opportunity to rise from the pain, learn from my mistakes and stand up stronger than before.
And a larger, even more grateful thank you to Gianni Grossi, for following me in this enterprise that has put us to the test in our personal life, with countless discussions about the details of every decoration, every gift, every single and meticulous touch of magic that we wanted to give to this event.
But, above all, thank you all for believing in us through all these years. We’ve had tons of fun and now we are moving towards other projects with the same enthusiasm as always.
See you around in the dolly-world….
LONG LIVE THE IDC, FOREVER IN OUR HEARTS!!!
But to end in a high note: during one of my coffee breaks on Sunday at the hotel café, with the bazaar at full force, a little girl came up to me, holding a Native American Barbie doll. She saw that I had a bag with doll boxes near me (IDC Poppy and Barbie plus RuPaul). She was no older than seven.
- Do you like my doll? she asked in Italian, without any hint of shyness or hesitation. I told her that I did and that it was lovely. She proceeded to tell me about the great finds she got at the bazaar, showing them one by one by taking them out of her bag. She then asked me if I had some dolls too and I replied yes. At that time her mother, visibly anxious, appeared and told me she was sorry about her little girl bothering me. I assured her that there was no problem and that I was enjoying the conversation with her daughter.
- Mom, he has that special convention Poppy you wanted to see. Signore, could you show the doll to my mother please? the little girl asked me. I proceeded to do so and showed them Barbie and RuPaul as well.
- Should we call your father to come pick us up darling? asked the lady. The girl nodded yes and the turned to me.
- My dad cannot even properly pronounce Barbie!
Im still laughing thinking about this and I know that a warm smile and love will always be there when I think of Italian Doll Convention 2018 and all the amazing people I got to meet and spend time with there. Grazie Mario e Gianni!